1999. San Francisco: John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller, 1999.
Tall slim 8vo, 48 pp., 8 plates, hand-sewn in Japanese paper, finely printed with illustrations depicting some of Blake’s original drawings and proofs, and the complete set of published prints. Enclosed in a folding quarter cloth box as issued.
§ De luxe edition, limited to 13 copies, each with an original Blake woodcut print matted and contained in the box. This is copy number II (two) and has a wonderfully moody woodcut of the waning moon over a plowed field with the two shepherds and sheep in between them -- the second cut in the book and one of the most important. As Essick notes [p. 12]: “The riven tree in the fifth design becomes the objective correlative of the shepherds’ sadness, its bifurcation evocative of the self-divisions of self-consciousness.”. The text was designed and printed by Marianne Hinckle at the Ano Nuevo Island Press, bound and hand-sewn by Taurus Bookbinders. Essick’s essay on the 1821 edition of Robert John Thornton’s The Pastorals of Virgil offers insight into the inspiration and creation for Blake’s wood engravings for Thornton’s work and is illustrated with eight plates of Blake’s wood engravings, proofs, and drawings. Windle’s essay describes twenty of Blake’s major books and prints with points for collectors and dealers to be aware of. The woodcuts (lacking four) had been cut from an original edition of Thornton’s Virgil by A. Edward Newton and pasted into an album as a gift for his daughter Caroline. They were removed from the album and archivally restored and matted for this edition by Zukor Art Services. Since publication 22 years ago this is the first copy of the de luxe issue to come to the market. The trade edition is also sold out. Item #124151